Review: "Nightcrawler" takes viewers on relentless journey
"Nightcrawler" doesn't crawl; it runs. Lead by Jake Gyllenhaal's strong, blunt and unnerving performance as Louis Bloom, an ambitious and resourceful freelance reporter, the movie delivers a mix of suspense, social and moral conflict, and a character you will love, or love to hate.
The movie opens with a picturesque gallery of perfect wide shots of Los Angeles. Dark, midnight views of landmark locales from Santa Monica's Pacific Park, to Hollywood and Vine set the stage for what we can only assume to be a wild ride.
We meet Louis Bloom, a goal-oriented man that pitches some seriously unsettling propositions to employers peppered with a hint of twitchy creepiness. Fascinated and driven by success and achievement, Bloom takes hold of a chance to make both a name for himself and profit, all the while satisfying his fearless, determined (and maybe even desperate) nature. Gyllenhaal’s performance employs his uncanny charm to plant his feet in the bustling media world, boldly going into news studios, rushing to car crashes and chaos to capture news footage, all the while grappling with competition and being an up-and-coming video reporter.
The audience is ushered into the city's nocturnal world, welcoming viewers to the untamed darker side of society. “Nightcrawler” spends a lot of time in the dark, being able to fully exploit unapologetic scenarios and pragmatic characters. With Bloom (Gyllenhaal) at the helm, we’re offered a front-row seat to an unforgiving city, witnessing his own dangerous and unrelenting story of midnight-reporting.
The film is delivered in a hyper-punctual package, made raw by honest, unsympathetic, rapid-fire dialogue complimented with crime scenes and raw videography.
The stakes climb as Bloom pursues his goals with undeterred energy, situating us in his busy, methodical life full of broken bodies, fast driving, and fearless reporting.
Gylenhaal's performance is more fully fleshed out by dynamic relationships with a morning news editor, played by Rene Russo, and a pretty desperate side-kick, played by Riz Ahmed.
The supporting characters provide further flesh to the movie. Ahmed's character Rick is the everyman, rooted in bewilderment over Gyllenhaal's fast-paced world. He provides us with the logical point of view in response to the outlandish situations he is falls into because of this new job.
Russo's character Rene is something of a Lady Macbeth catalyst for Gyllenhaal, being the female counterpart that looks at Bloom like the perfect tool for advancement. As the audience watches Bloom grow in leaps and bounds, furthering his goals and his ambitions, Rene shrinks. The two clash heads in argument, setting the stage for a finale that will ultimately question one's favor over the other.
The second act never lets up on suspense, vicious action or severe consequences. The film's climax leads to an ambiguous end, allowing the audience to decide Gyllenhaal's fate as they leave the theater.
As we're introduced to characters and plot elements, viewers will be at the edge of their seats, guessing how far Louis Bloom and company will go, and what it will take to achieve their hefty goals. After all, a little blood in the world of newscasting and reporting isn't unusual.
In a world absent of clean daytime society, "Nightcrawler" takes the audience out for a night on the town that they will never forget, or ever want to mention.